After a good start to the season in week 44 the past few weeks was a bit rocky on all varieties due to rains pouring down since the start of week 46. Overall a crop loss estimate of + 30% was reported on early White and Red Seedless grapes.
The early Black Seedless window showed good volumes Midnight Beauty® and Sable Seedless® being packed in week 48. Week 49 was received by an additional 40mm of rain over an entire week.
Good growing practices such as covering vines with reusable plastic, positioning of bunches and delayed harvest is effective. The crop is reacting well to the amount of rain, however programs are heavily delayed. Vines are moving back to normal photosynthesis conditions.
Week 50 showed the end of the Black Seedless varieties with mid to late varieties picking up slowly. Sweet Joy, Sweet Sapphire and Cotton Candy came out in small numbers with Crimson seedless, Scarlotta and Sweet Globe following.
The long term weather forecast seems to favor these novelty varieties. However the effect of the rains can be seen on the delayed programs and orders not filled.
Orange River Region
The region commenced slow in week 46 with the White Seedless varieties, Prime and Early Sweet. The region experienced perfect conditions for berry growth, however sugar accumulation was slow, forcing growers to wait for the optimal harvest brix. This placed even more strain on the exporter and the client as there were really no product available due to weather conditions.
Week 48 produced warmer days with temperatures reaching + 40ºC. Followed by ideal cooler weeks helping with colouring of the Black and Red Seedless varieties. Micro irrigation is used on most varieties in the region to create a micro climate inside the vineyards and shorter intervals to create optimal conditions for the grapes to have a longer shelf life
Even though we experienced a larger and more even size on the early varieties, berry weight was down and the region is currently 15% - 20% down on original estimates. Also not favourable for clients needing product urgently.
Week 50 and 51 was the start of Black Seedless varieties. The Sable Seedless® variety has an extremely prominent taste this season with Muscat and tropical flavours following after each bite.
Conditions for colouring and berry growth are very favourable at this stages as we look forward to see new varieties such as Sweet Celebration, Sweet Sapphire and Sweet Globe in full production in the coming weeks.
Western Cape Regions
The Berg River region is 5 to 7 days earlier than expected. With the start on the first Red and Black Seedless in week 51, we will see Midnight Beauty® and Sable Seedless® in full production week 01.
The region had moderate growing conditions and our expectations are that we will see a healthy crop from the Western Cape. Good size and uniform bunges are present. Water levels are stable at this stage, however caution is used to ensure that water is used as needed.
The Hex River Valley also showed an early start, 7 to 10 days compared to the previous season. Crop estimates stay unchanged for now and the quality of the fruit is promising. Temperatures are cool ranging around 15 degrees with warmer days in between. The colouring of dark varieties will not be a challenge this season and eating quality is excellent. We will see full production around week 01 to 02.
Please feel free to contact us for more information.